Coming-of-age stories... They never get old, do they? Famed actor, director and screenwriter George Clooney has opted for a kind flick this time around and has gotten back behind the camera for his new film "The Tender Bar," starring Ben Affleck and Tye Sheridan, revolving around a boy growing up on Long Island seeking out father figures among the patrons at his uncle's bar.
The feature film, Clooney's eighth as director, is based on the memoirs of American author J. R. Moehringer, who found substitutes for his absent father at his uncle Charlie's New York pub.
"It was nice. It was gentle. It was kind and I don't often do films like that," Clooney told Reuters on Sunday, at the London Film Festival premiere of the drama.
"I wanted to have something that didn't necessarily reflect all the things that we've been going through. I wanted to have something that reminded us that we all kind of like each other in general."
The film sees JR, played by Sheridan and newcomer Daniel Ranieri, being taken under the wing of his barman uncle played by Affleck, and finding shelter in his establishment.
Influenced by the stories told by the bar's colorful cast of patrons, JR matures from an insecure boy to an acclaimed writer.
Casting his friend Affleck as the larger-than-life Uncle Charlie was a no-brainer, said Clooney.
"This character is really smart and he's a bit of a goofball, and Ben is all of those things."
Clooney said turning 60 in May had made him reevaluate his priorities.
"Sixty changes the dynamic a little bit. Amal and I talk about it all the time," he said, referring to his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney.
"It doesn't mean not working, because working is really important to both of us, but also making sure that we also spend time with each other and with our family."
Released in U.S. cinemas on Dec. 17, "The Tender Bar" starts streaming globally on Amazon Prime from Jan. 7, 2022.